ALTINUM (mod. Altino), an ancient town of Venetia, 12 m. S.E. of Tarvisium (Treviso), on the edge of the lagoons. It was probably only a small fishing village until it became the point of junction of the Via Postumia and the Via Popillia (see AQUILEIA). At the end of the republic it was a municipium. Augustus and his successors brought it into further importance as a point on the route between Italy and the north-eastern portions of the empire. After the foundation of the naval station at Ravenna, it became the practice to take ship from there to Altinum, instead of following the Via Popillia round the coast, and thence to continue the journey by land. A new road, the Via Claudia Augusta, was constructed by the emperor Claudius from Altinum to the Danube, a distance of 350 m., apparently by way of the Lake of Constance. The place thus became of considerable strategic and commercial importance, and the comparatively mild climate (considering its northerly situation) led to the erection of villas which Martial (Epigr. iv. 25) compares with those of Baiae. It was destroyed by Attila in A.D. 452, and its inhabitants took refuge in the islands of the lagoons, forming settlements from which Venice eventually sprang.
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)